Graveney adds to Read's misery

England's selectors demonstrated yesterday that they are perfectly willing to lead the way in one-day cricket innovation by naming five moderate fielders in the squad for the NatWest Series. In a form of the game that requires men who can preferably run like Carl Lewis and dive like Greg Louganis, it is a novel, not to mention risky, experiment.

England's selectors demonstrated yesterday that they are perfectly willing to lead the way in one-day cricket innovation by naming five moderate fielders in the squad for the NatWest Series. In a form of the game that requires men who can preferably run like Carl Lewis and dive like Greg Louganis, it is a novel, not to mention risky, experiment.

The panel also took the contentious decision to drop the country's best wicketkeeper, Chris Read, and replace him with Geraint Jones, who is the superior batsman. Jones will have his work cut out. He will have to try to match Read's speed of hands, to emulate him by standing up to seam bowlers and thus severely curtail batsmen's options, while also trying to cajole some fieldsmen not renowned for their nimbleness and agility.

Jones is one of three newcomers to the squad who drew 2-2 with the West Indies recently. Sajid Mahmood, the Lancashire fast bowler with a proclivity for bowling balls that take wickets, has been given his first opportunity to state his international credentials. Robert Key has been recalled, having been in prolific first-class form for Kent, although his one-day returns have been thin.

The selectors have dropped Read, Rikki Clarke, James Kirtley and Gareth Batty. They have retained Darren Gough, who looked spent at one stage in the Caribbean but continues to rage against the dying of the light, and Anthony McGrath, who did not play a single game during the winter. They also resisted the temptation (not for the first time) to call up Ian Bell as well as Glamorgan's in-form Michael Powell.

If Read were to feel aggrieved by his omission it would be understandable. David Graveney said the decision was one of the hardest made in his seven years as chairman of selectors. He went to see Read in Bath, where Nottinghamshire were playing yesterday, to explain the reasons. He may well have found himself short of words.

"He was very disappointed indeed," Graveney said. "We have an outstanding crop of young wicketkeepers in the country at the moment and we looked at the strengths and weaknesses of Chris and Geraint and we are happy with the package we have in Geraint."

Read has done nothing wrong in his time as England's one-day wicketkeeper. Indeed, he has done most things right. He has a commendable record of 38 victims in 28 matches, he has a strike rate of 71 and in the West Indies that was 98. His wicketkeeping is exemplary, and bearing in mind that all runs are vital in one-dayers, a bye here or there could be costly.

By now, it would seem to be clear that if Read scored 2,000 runs in a season and claimed 150 victims he would not be in the team. The selectors, however, must be feeling pleased with themselves at their recent run. Both Jones and Andrew Strauss have been triumphs in the Test team.

But the gamble on indifferent fieldsmen looks reckless. Key, delightful batsman and chap though he is, is not the sleekest around the deep. Ian Blackwell, Anthony McGrath, Marcus Trescothick and Gough all move like Massey-Fergusons rather Jaguars. The squad contains only two truly outstanding fielders in Strauss and Paul Collingwood. Graveney said it was about achieving balance.

Still, it would have been hard to keep Key waiting. His selection should put an end to the spurious theory that England are actually looking for one-day players in picking the one-day squad. In going for Key, they are seeking a way to get him back into the Test side as soon as possible. Had they picked Bell and he had done well, he would have overtaken Key in the race for a Test place. That would have complicated things.

It does not mean much for the World Cup in 2007, but if it means anything it is probably that England will not win it.

Squad: M P Vaughan (Yorkshire, capt) Age 29 Apps 44, M E Trescothick (Somerset) 28 79, A J Strauss (Middlesex) 27 6, P D Collingwood (Durham) 28 47, A Flintoff (Lancashire) 26 71, I D Blackwell (Somerset) 26 21, A F Giles (Warwickshire) 31 35, G O Jones (Kent, wkt) 27 0, R W T Key (Kent) 25 2, D Gough (Essex) 33 126, J M Anderson (Lancashire) 21 31, S J Harmison (Durham) 25 11, S I Mahmood (Lancashire) 22 0, A McGrath (Yorkshire) 28 10.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week